Thursday, February 28, 2008

PhotoSynthesis: Washington Gardener's 2nd Annual Photo Exhibit

You are invited to PhotoSynthesis, an exhibition of the winning images from the Second Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. All 16 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region.

The opening reception is Friday, March 28 from 6-8pm at the Adams Bank Lobby in the World Building on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The reception is open to the public and is free to attend.

After the opening reception, you may come by and view the photos any time during the normal bank lobby hours (M-F 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12noon). The show runs through May 22.

The winning photos are also published in the March/April 08 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine along with details on the entrants and their images. You can subscribe to the magazine for just $20 a year and start with this current issue. Or purchase the single issue at the opening reception on March 28. You may also buy the single issue at local Borders, Barnes & Noble, or B. Dalton book stores and several independent stores including Politics & Prose, and the USNA Arbor House.

The complete the list of winners is posted on the Contest page of our web site. Congratulations to them all!

Due to the success of this contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is already announcing a 3rd Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. Start gathering your images now and throughout this year. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January with the winners announced at the annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, which next year will be held January 31, 2009.

Bloggers Make Headlines

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 22 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red streetboxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can now click on to read at 100%.

I won't be attending any of these great event listed myself as tonight I give a talk at the Takoma DC library, tomorrow I'm plowing through piles of paperwork, emails, and chores, Saturday is my niece's 5th birthday party ("Fairie" theme, of course!), then Sunday and Monday I'm in Philadelphia at the Garden Writers meeting.

Meanwhile, a local garden blogger and friend, Susan Harris, is profiled on the front page of the Washington Post Style section today along with her fellow GardenRanters. Read it here. Finally, garden bloggers are getting some of the attention they(we) deserve. At the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club talk I gave on Tuesday night, I asked how many of the 40 attendees there that night read blogs and just 2 raised their hands. I think this article will help get more online and reading, but moreover, I hope it gets them blogging and commenting as well!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lion Dung

You know when you get an email with the subject line of "lion dung" that is a must-open-immediately! I haven't blogged in a few days because since last Thursday I've attended two all-day conferences, gave a garden talk in Bowie, finalized the magazine layout proofs, been working on the details of our Philadelphia Flower Show trip, planning our Photo Contest art show reception, etc. I've had a few seconds each morning to scan through my email just to delete the spam and see if any fures need putting out, but pretty much no time to reply to actual notes.
This "lion dung" note from Jeff Nesmith was in response to the WAMU Metro Connection radio interview I did last week that aired on Friday and repeated on Saturday. The topic was our current magazine cover story of "Dealing with Deer." The transcript and audio file are available here.

Of course, during the deer talk I just had to mention the local person (name withheld) so desperate to get rid of deer they filled their car with fresh lion poo from the zoo. Smelly and ruined car, to say the least.

Jeff Nesmith wrote and said: >>In your future interviews, please try to be more emphatic in your warnings to people about the use of lion dung as a pest repellant. Many years ago, when I worked for the Atlanta Constitution and lived in the suburbs there, I went to a place called "Lion Country Safari," where they had an overabundance of rhinoceros manure, and got some, planning to make me a "powerful stuff" compost. While there, I picked up a bag of lion manure, because I was told it would keep rabbits out of my garden. It was a self-defeating strategy. As far as I know, the rabbits stayed out, but so did I. For about a week, until we had a good hard rain, going into my own garden was the second-most revolting experience I've ever had. Incidentally, I can't imagine how this will be of use to a garden enthusiast, but the MOST revolting experience I ever had happened when I was six years old and was vomited on by a female buzzard who happened upon me while I was playing with the chicks in her ground-level nest. Perhaps you can imagine, something lying out on the road or some field, dead, until it becomes putrid enough to attract a buzzard, who then converts THAT into vomit. . . . I recently retired, and I am going to subscribe to your magazine.<<

Jeff, I'm sharing your note here as it made my day and I know others will enjoy it as well.

BTW if you go to Google images and put in "lion dung," you get lots of links to this "Silent Roar" product pictured here. It is described as "non toxic pellets soaked in essence of lion dung, dried and then sterilised" and it will keep naughty neighborhood cats away from pooping in your flower beds. I'm not going to ask how this process occurs nor do I care if it is truly effective (all the neighborhood cats are welcome at my watering hole and none have done their business here), but I have to ask about the logic of this application. To prevent little cats from pooping in your beds, you spread a thin layer of big cat poo? How does that make sense? Won't you be living with kitty poop and smells either way? Why pay for and spread it yourself?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Got enough TP and Bread?

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 21 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red streetboxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can now click on to read at 100%.

Event #4 is the ECOSAVVY GARDENING SYMPOSIUM at Green Spring Gardens ths Saturday. With the weekend weather forecast ranking high on the bread-o-meter, I'm really hoping this still goes on as planned. I'll have a table there and am looking forward to some of the sessions on water management and earth-friendly gardening.

If it does get cancelled, I won't be happy, but I surecan use that time to work on getting the current issue of our Washington Gardener Magazine finalized for the printer pick-up on Monday. We have some great articles in it. Spending this morning sorting through images of heuchera and patio-containers of vegetables for the layout. *Sigh* it is a bit torturous to view these sun-drenched photos while I sit huddled in front of my computer wrapped in fleece.

UPDATE: There was ice on the roads and freezing rain on Friday, but the show went on at Brookside and they had a good turn-out. Same for Saturday at Green Spring Gardens. The foul weather was a nuisance, but we gardeners are a hardy stock.
I'll be writing a report on Brookside's Green Matters event for the Silver Spring Garden Club and Friends of Brookside newsletters.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Gardens of the Cathedral Close

In one of our early issues of Washington Gardener Magazine we did an extensive story on the National Cathedral's grounds, though what we printed was only the tip of the iceberg. Linda Daisley of AHG Communications sent us the following a few weeks ago to share with you all:

Nancy Symington's garden docent handbook is now posted as a PDF on the All Hallows website, under "History." Go to this link. Then look at the bottom of that page for highlighted parts 1 through 5. Click on Part 1 to begin.

Because of the length of the document, it was posted in five sequential parts which may be confusing but was unavoidable. Anyone wanting a print copy of the entire document may now simply print it from her computer. Further, if one wants information on only one piece of statuary, simply search the document, find the page and then read or print.

Nancy researched tirelessly to produce this document. I urge all of you to take the time to read what Nancy has compiled, mark it in your "Favorite" documents, refer to it frequently and become even more knowledgeable about the Close! Share it with friends as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Birds, Just Can't Count On Them

I've had this Backyard Bird Count weekend marked on my calendar for months. I had such ambition and high hopes! I was going to give the definitive count for downtown Silver Spring. Not only have I failed to count and log any birds to their web site, but I also have not gotten any decent photos to post there or here. What I realize is that bird watching and counting takes time -- a lot of time -- which is something I don't have. I've been home maybe 4 daylight hours this weekend.
What it also takes is patience, I have none when it comes to birds. I'm out there trying to get close to them to take a photo and they hop away. I yell at them, they hop further. I put out more food -- they fly away to a tree-top and give me the stink-eye. I'll never make a Disney heroine at this rate!
It also does not help that I have no decent bird ID guide. So my partial list from one hour's observation yesterday about Noon looks like this:
~ 20+ small brown things - some Sparrows, Carolina Wrens, and Chick-a-dees and a few I'm not sure of what they are really
~ Blue Jays - one male and one female
~ 5 or 6 Starlings (they won't stay still for a count!)
~ one redheaded Woodpecker
~ 3 Cardinals - two males and one female
~ some other birds that I think are common Crows
Ah, well. Next year I'll carve out more time and remember to purchase a bird guide.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bloom Day - a bit tardy

Just like my snowdrops, I'm a bit tardy with this month's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, but here is what is blooming for me today:

Winter jasmine (pictured here)

Hyacinth (pictured below)
Violets (pictured below)

I'm keeping tabs on my crop of crocus, 'February Gold' Daffodils, and Iris reticulata -- all teasing me mercilessly everytime I venture outside. "Are they open yet?" I plead. "No," they say, "Let us sleep in a bit more, it is so cozy down inside this mulched soil and so chilly out there." I can hardly blame them.

Our 3-D Issue: Dwarf Citrus, Daffodils, and Don Engebretson

The latest Washington Gardener Enews is now out. It was sent via email yesterday and can be viewed at our archive site here.

Washington Gardener Enews
Vol. 4, No. 2 — February 15, 2008
In This Issue:
Growing Dwarf Citrus Trees
Magazine Excerpt: Delightful, Dependable Daffodils
February To-Do List
Spotlight Special: Hollybrook Orchards Brand Fruit Trees
Reader Contest: Capital Home & Garden Show Passes
Local Gardening Events

Note that our current Reader Contest has a very short entry period this time -- so act now, if you'd like to win passes to next weekend's Capital Home & Garden Show to see Don Engebretson, the Renegade Gardener.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Miracle of Color

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 31 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red streetboxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can now click on to read at 100%.

Since that image looks pretty pathetic in black ink only, I'll also furnish the original full-color photo I submitted of a gorgeous witch hazel backed by a holly. Click on it to see it in larger size and get the full effect.
The whole point of this "Winter Beauties" walk at Green Spring Gardens on Saturday is to see the color and interest of these gorgeous shrubs. In late winter, they are among the very few things getting us through until spring. The newspaper's version of the photo more accurately shows what a February here withOUT these plants would be like.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A pinch of ground-up Viagra

Amy Stewart was back in town and I attended her "Flower Confidential" book talk at AHS's River Farm today. You'll recall that we co-hosted a talk by her last year for the initial book tour. Now in paperback and timed perfectly for Valentine's Day, she is back on the road to discuss the virtues of organic cut flowers and the behind-the-scenes stories of the vast floral industry.
One of the fun facts on her "Cut Flower Care" handout caught my eye. Apparently, if you are out of commercial flower food "a pinch of ground-up Viagra" will do just as well. Now THAT explains why I get over 200 spam emails for "enhancing my male parts" in the inbox each day! Who knew it had a plant application?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guerilla Lunch - Just Bananas!

The Creative-SS Lunch Bunch I've formed will be meeting again this Friday at 1:00 for lunch at La Bamba. The discussion topic is Guerilla Marketing. This group was designed for creative work-from-home folks in the greater Silver Spring, MD area, but all are welcome. This is FREE, no strings, and no RSVP needed -- just show up. Buy your own lunch or watch us eat :-).
It'd be a big help if people brought the following to the lunch:
1. Business cards/brochures/work samples - I'd say bring at least 20 to pass out to other attendees.
2. A name tag - this is your chance to show your creativity! Make one that reflects your business and you can even wear it at other networking events - a mega-good conversation starter. Plus, if you are like me, you hate killing a tree and wearing those fugly "hello my name is.." stickers. Don't make me have to start bringing a pack of those dull things to these events! My newly spiffed-up name tag is pictured here.
3. Bring at least 3 examples of ways that you have used Guerilla Marketing to promote your creative business.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Washington Gardener’s “Big Easy” Trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show!

Washington Gardener Magazine has partnered again with Cheval Force Opp’s Garden Tours company to take local DC gardeners up to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Wednesday, March 5, 2008. What sets this tour apart from all the others? 8 Great Reasons!
1. We feed you! That's right, lunch is included on the way up as well as a hardy snack on the way back

2. We entertain you! We'll have garden-related DVDs to view, flower trivia contests, prizes for bests (dressed, on time, etc.), and just plain silly games for your day off work.

3. We'll hold a lively show preview talk! Cheval and I will be at the show on Sunday-Monday and get a behind-the-scenes tour with the show management. We'll pass on any tidbits we learn to you.

4. We are going up later and arriving later then all the other crack-of-dawn folks! That means you'll hit the exhibit hall when it is at its least crowded and have some time to sleep in on the morning of your day off.

5. We take care of the details! Cheval will be your acting "den mother" for the day and you can just concern yourself with all the great things you will see. You can leave the driving, directions, and parking hassles to our coach transport. We also provide you with a packet of show information so you can arrive ready to hit the Flower Show running.

6. We leave from a convenient location! Downtown Silver Spring's metro Kiss 'n Ride lot is our start and stop point so you can take the metro, train, or metrobus in or have a friend drop you off or drive yourself and park in the many downtown parking garages for the day. Many who live in the area can just walk or bike on down.

7. We let you pick your seat-mate! Yes, no worry of being stuck with some weird-o on the Greyhound or of getting separated from your friend. If you are traveling with someone and want to sit together, just let us know and we'll place you together in our handy seating chart.

8. We set a great price! Whether you go by train or drive yourself - by the time you add up all the costs (gas, toll, parking, meals, etc.) and the price of the show ticket, you'll see we are a terrific bargain. Not only that, but we are giving Washington Gardener subscribers $5 off our fee. And yes, you can sign up for the trip and subscribe at the same time to get the discount.

Complete registration information and form can be downloaded at: Register soon as we are half-full at this point and expect a sell-out.

Two local papers have covered our upcoming Flower Show trip announcement: The Fairfax Chronicle and Our Parish Times. They both point out some interesting new angles on the trip.

Friday, February 08, 2008

39+ to 1

We got in 40 written evaluations from our recent Seed Exchange. Of those, 39 were rave reviews, but one was not. I also had a few emails and many verbal responses, all of those were 100% positive and glowing. So what response is rolling around in my head still this morning? Of course, it is that one negative review. Why can't I just be happy with a 99.9% satisfaction rating??!! What bugs me most about it is that I have no idea who wrote it or their agenda. They marked all the aspects of the event as "poor," then said they were "undecided" about attending next year. Why not just mark "no" for that? Weird!

Then they wrote a long note about how the event needs to include information on how to do habitats for birds and butterflies in various light situations. Well, we did actually have free handouts on that and native seed catalogs plus a table of native seeds for trading. However, clearly "creating wildlife habitats" strays far from the focus and goals of a Seed Exchange. Again, an odd take on things.

And if the negative reviewer is reading this, please spare us all and do not attend next year or at least adjust your expectations as I can tell you right now we will not be having any of our speakers address that topic as the subject of their talks. If you want to find out more on this subject, I suggest you attend one of the numerous native plant societies, Audubon groups, or garden club meetings that specifically have talks on it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Valentine's Days Gifts for Gardeners

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 22 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red streetboxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can now click on to read at 100%.

Today's Daily Candy emails included two gifts I thought were great for gardeners (excerpted below). So that made me think, I'd much rather have a blooming orchid plant than a dozen cut roses or some stale candy hearts. Now, quality chocolate is always going to trump other gifts, but I'd not be upset about getting a smaller size Godiva box if that was accompanied by a pot of primroses. How about you? What would you gardeners like for Valentine's Day instead of the traditional gifts?

Plantable Valentines
What: Ecofriendly greetings are embedded with wildflower seeds that bloom when planted.
Why: Say it with cards and flowers.
Where: Online at<<
What: The local specialists have dozens of delicate blooms in V-Day colors for your sweetheart, starting at just $10.
Why: Cheaper than roses. (Who knew?)
When: Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Where: 390b Maple Ave. E., Vienna (703-255-5125).<<

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shhh! Library Talk

Takoma Park Branch (DC) Library,
Washington Gardener Magazine &
the Takoma Horticultural Club Presents:
Getting Your Garden Ready For Spring
Grow a beautiful garden filled with flowers and foliage and still honor the Earth by using sustainable gardening practices. Learn how to prepare your yard for the new growing season in an eco-friendly way. Also, learn how to get the whole family involved in this outdoor, bonding activity by growing green together.
Presented by Kathy Jentz
Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine
and immediate past President of the Takoma Horticultural Club
7:00pm Thursday, Feb 28th
For more information please call the library at (202) 576-7252
And YES, it is FREE to attend!

The Pig Can Garden

Penelope is exquisute. I love this film! Saw it at an MPAA screening yesterday. It is a smart, funny retelling of the Beauty & the Beast fairie tale. Beautiful visuals throughout! I was "sold" from the opening minute, but what really put it over the top is Penelope's lifelong love of horticulture and her ambition to become a horticulturist. I'm not going to say too much more as I don't want to spoil it for you all -- just see it and enjoy.

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